Uterine fibroids also called leiomyomas or myomas are
noncancerous growth of the uterus that sometimes appear during childbearing
years. Uterine fibroid almost never develops into cancer and isn’t associated
with any risk of uterine cancer.
Fibroids range in sizes, from seedlings to bulky masses
which distort and enlarge the uterus. Fibroid can be single or multiple,
multiple fibroids can expand the uterus and reach the rib cage.
Most women do not know that they have these uterine fibroids
because they often cause no symptoms in some women, only a pelvic examination
or prenatal ultrasound can discover it.
Symptoms of fibroids
In women who have symptoms, the most common signs include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Pelvic pressure
- Menstrual period lasting for a very long time(more
than a week)
- Frequent urination
- Leg pain
- Difficulty emptying the bladder.
Fibroids are generally classified by their location.
- Intramural fibroids grow within the muscular
- Submucosal fibroids bulge into the uterine
- Subserosal fibroids projects to the outside of
- Sometimes, a fibroid can cause acute pain whenever it
outgrows its blood supply and begins to die.
Seek prompt medical
care if you have several vaginal bleedings or a sudden sharp pelvic pain that
doesn’t go away, prolonged or painful period, spotting or bleeding between
Causes of fibroids
Some of the causes may include:
Hormones: The two hormones Estrogen and progesterone
that stimulate the development of the uterine lining during each menstrual
cycle appear to promote the growth of the fibroid. Fibroids tend to shrink
after menopause due to the decrease in hormone production.
Other growth factors:
Substances like insulin-like growth factors that help the body maintain tissue
may affect fibroid growth.
Extracellular matrix(ECM): ECM makes cells stick together and they store
growth factors. ECM is increased in fibroids and make them fibrous.
The growth pattern of uterine fibroids differs, they may
remain the same size, grow slowly or rapidly. Some may shrink on their own.
Many fibroids present during pregnancy shrink after
pregnancy as the uterus returns back to normal size.
Risk factors may include:
Heredity: You are
at risk of developing fibroid if your mother or sister has it.
Obesity, vitamin D deficiency, menstruation at an early age, drinking alcohol,
having a diet higher in red meat and lower in green vegetables.
Complications arising from fibroid
Pregnancy and fibroids:
Fibroid doesn’t interfere with getting pregnant but submucosal fibroid, a
fibroid that bulges into the uterine cavity can cause infertility or pregnancy
A high risk of fibroid may also include placental abruption,
fetal growth restriction, and preterm delivery.
Maintaining a normal weight, eating fruits and vegetables,
using hormonal contraceptives may lower the risk of fibroids.